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Similarities and differences between a racial group and an ethnic group - Essay Example

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Similarities and differences between a racial group and an ethnic group

According to a source “ race is a biological subspecies , or variety of a species, consisting of a more or less distinct population with anatomical traits that distinguish it clearly from other races” (Diffen) There are some opponents to this theory too. They feel that this definition does not depict the reality associated with genes and gene variation due t gene mutation today. Perpetually all humans are ninety nine percent identical today. There are no strikingly spectacular differences. The only conspicuous differences that appear to the naked eye are due to the differences between males and females. Broadly speaking, the entire animal kingdom is very homogenous. Biologists who refute the claim that races are based on morphological features claim that the assumption that human races are based on anatomical traits is false. They claim that anatomical traits do not cluster distinct groups of people. It is further explained that some human races appear the way they do because of the natural environment surrounding them. for instance, in areas near the tropical latitudes, there are people with darker skin color to protect them from sun’s harmful ultra violet radiation. Thus, the dark brown skin color is primarily found amongst the Africans and the Indian sub continent. However the popularly held belief is otherwise. As it goes-Racial groups are thus based on biological classification of people. This classification could be according to human features, skin color or other morphological features. One is automatically classified by virtue of external forces into a racial group. One does not have any control on the racial group that becomes one’s identity. Racial groupings and concept of race have been a very controversial topic because of its ability to influence the social hierarchy of the society. Ethnicity on the other hand also incorporates the social characteristics of an individual within the society that he lives in. Some of the social characteristics that are a premise of ethnic classification include one’s language, culture, religion, tradition, tribe and nationality. Race is externally assigned by the people around us. However ethnicity is not externally assigned by other people. Ethnicity is the onus of an individual; however he wants to go about it. It is apparently a conglomeration of humans who have similar cultural characters and follow the same religious faith. Some of the very common ethnic groups include the likes of the Chinese, the Indians, the Asians, the African Americans, the American Indians, the Japanese etc. Ethnicity has also been broadly defined to incorporate a group with loose identity that has nothing in common. For instance the German Americans and the Irish people. On the other hand, there are some ethnic groups which are very strongly related. They share the same language, the same traditions and the same culture. A lot of people misunderstand a “minority” and term it as an ethnic group to. One should know that a minority is not an ethnic group. Ethnic groups can be both a majority as well as a minority. It depends on the perspective in which it is taken and considered. For instance the people of Mexico in America. In their state, they may form an overwhelming majority but the government recognizes them as a distinct group. Some other examples of ethnic groups include hunters, gatherers, pastoralists. Thus a racial group is based on shared biological traits while an ethnic group is based on shared cultural traits. Ethnic groups differentiate between themselves on the basis of time period while racial groups distinguish amongst themselves on the ...Show more
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Summary

The goal of this essay is to highlight the differences between and similarities between racial group and ethnic groups. Literally speaking “race” is a human population- a human population that is different from other human breeds based on physical or imagined differences. …
Similarities and differences between a racial group and an ethnic group
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